Safe animal feed is important for the health of animals, the environment and for the safety of foods of animal origin. There are many examples of the close link between the safety of animal feed and the foods we eat. For instance, mammalian meat and bone meal (MBM) was banned from all farm animal feed in the EU in 2001 because it was linked to the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE-Mad Cow Disease) in cattle and BSE infected meat was associated with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans.
What farmers feed to livestock depends on a range of factors including the species and age of animals, the type of food produced - such as meat, milk or eggs - the price, availability and nutritive value of different feedstuffs and geographical factors including soil type and climate. Types of feed include fodder - such as hay, straw, silage, oils and grains – and manufactured products which are typically compound mixtures of feed materials that may contain additives.
Feed additives play an important role in modern agriculture and are a focus of the EU regulatory framework. They are products used in animal nutrition to improve the characteristics of feed, for instance to enhance flavor or to make feed materials more readily digestible. They are often used in intensive farming production on a large scale. A company wishing to put a feed additive on the EU market must obtain prior authorization. As part of this process, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) evaluates the safety and efficacy of each additive and checks for adverse effects on human and animal health and on the environment.
Feed additives include:
- Technological additives - e.g. preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, stabilizing agents, acidity regulators, silage additives
- Sensory additives - e.g. flavors, colorants
- Nutritional additives - e.g. vitamins, amino acids, trace elements
- Zoo technical additives - e.g. digestibility enhancers, gut flora stabilizers
- Coccidiostats and histomonostats
The European legislation on animal feed provides a framework for ensuring that feedstuffs do not present any danger to human or animal health or to the environment. It includes rules on the circulation and use of feed materials, requirements for feed hygiene, rules on undesirable substances in animal feed, legislation on genetically modified food and feed and conditions for the use of additives in animal nutrition.
SPECIAL COVER INDEX:
- Assessment of Salmonella inactivation in lab scale
Dr. Edyta MARGAS, Food and Feed Safety Leader, Bühler AG
Contaminated feed represents one of the first introduction pathways for Salmonella and other Enterobacteriaceae into the food value chain. One potential measure to reduce this risk is targeted heat treatment of the feedstuff. But for the implementation of heat treatment as a validated “kill-step” systematic studies are still lacking.
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- Feed Bunk Management and Contribution to Feed Safety in Dairy Cattle Farming
Prof. Dr. Serap Göncü, Cattle Breeding and Management Expert, Cukurova University
The feeder management provides the amount of feed needed by cattle for high performance, allowing for profitable production. Many problems that are experienced today lie in the lack of attention to feed management. The feeder management practices are herd management application that affects cattle farms, revenue generation, and economic sustainability and profitability and contribute significantly to the feed safety.
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